This is such a significant moment for The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.
After shifting to entirely virtual programming since March, we are resuming some of our in-person programming adhering strictly to all New York City and New York State reopening guidelines.
While during the pandemic we have continued to service our youth and our community – distributing over 100,000 meals in response to food insecurity, and providing laptops, hotspots, and emergency financial support to our youth – our programming has all been virtual.
And so we are so excited to see our young people again and provide them with an intellectually stimulating summer!
The safety of our youth and staff is our utmost priority and we have planned for this reopening and are following and implementing new policies and guidelines for our summer programming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – adhering to all NYC and NYS regulations.
An overview of the precautions being taken are at the bottom of this page.
It is so crucial to our young people that they have opportunities for development and engagement this summer – and our staff have created an array of programming – both virtual and in person.
Summers at Bro/Sis are an extension of our year-long programming. Our Summer Leadership Program engages our membership in extensive programs.
For 25 years , our diverse summer programming has given our young people incredible opportunities and dramatically reduced the summer achievement and access gap.
For 25 years , Bro/Sis has worked for racial justice and equality and organized to counter systemic racism and change unjust policies related to education, policing, the justice system, the environment. All of our youth will continue to learn about efforts for change and understand fully the moment we are in and the movement for change and justice.
Summer Day Camp
Our Summer Day Camp (SDC) fills a critical gap of achievement and engagement during summer months when many low-income girls and boys might otherwise pass their time indoors. SDC offers an intensive enrichment experience for our youngest members, ages 8-12, and provides them with a supportive environment that fosters personal growth and provides a space to form lasting friendships and mentorships, and of course, have fun!
This year, the camp is two three-week-long sessions – each serving 30 children – and held outdoors. SDC provides a unique camp atmosphere that emphasizes nature, wellness, art, and science exploration. The camp will conclude with a photography exhibit by our members, a culmination of their visual arts and mixed media work throughout the summer.
Our Environmental Program ‘s Summer Internship is 6 weeks long and is a hybrid of virtual projects and outdoor activities split into three groups, with the opportunity to cross-collaborate. The Sustainable Design group works on our Environmental Learning Center’s greenhouse floor, working on composting bins and aquaponics systems.
The Horticulture Sciences group is learning about urban gardening and the fundamental functions of soil and plant biology. The Food Empowerment group is studying food and culinary arts. They are managing our growing youth-run farmers market, which opened on July 8th. The market runs every Wednesday to the end of November providing over 30,000 pounds of fresh food to over 2,000 community residents in an area deemed a food desert.
Our Liberation Program (LP) for young activists and organizers is expanding from two to three distinct summer programs for members ages 14 to 18, all entirely virtual. All programs are covering racial, immigration, education, gender, and criminal justice. Over 96 workshops are being facilitated with the help of Bro/Sis alumni and youth organizers.
The Summer Liberation School (SLS) provides 4-week social justice and organizing training for emerging youth activists. Peer Organizing Workshop Education Radical Residencies (POWERR), a four-week training program, is designed to help current LP members hone their organizing tools, focusing on capacity building, social justice, and organizing training. Catalyst, the newest and fully virtual 3-week organizing program, is to support our youth activists in taking their next steps as leaders.
Members will also participate in Activist Lounge – a space to expose our young people to organizers, activists, and change agents across NYC working towards liberation through a variety of mediums, and continue to amplify their 20/20 campaign demands, which calls for an increase to the budget for NYC public schools so as to quadruple the number of student support staff (counselors, therapists, and social workers), divest from school to prison pipeline and policing culture; and invest in student and community-led restorative justice and safety strategies. To learn more about our 20/20 Campaign, click here.
Our Writers Collective Program is a virtual 5-week intensive program for youth ages 13 to 17. This year, we are thrilled to expand the school year-long program through the summer to support our members in developing member’s creative voices. The workshops focus on written poetry, spoken word, rap, short story, and song. Through writing exercises, members address personal and community issues that connect to social justice themes, and are exposed to thought-provoking art and literature that analyzes society and government through a critical lens.
Our summer teen arts program is centered on the Black Lives Matter movement, focusing on artists who have made an impact using their craft to uplift Black and Latinx voices. Our young people are learning about the Black Lives Matter movement’s history, about artists from our communities who are rooted in activism, and are being challenged to use their voice to address issues in their communities.
The 5-week program, a blend of virtual and outdoor programming split into two groups, will culminate with a public art exhibit of our members’ individual pieces at the Johnny Hartman Plaza and throughout the neighborhood, empowering our youth through art as agents of social change.
Our Fitness Program provides members ages 14 to 18 with 4 weeks of focused physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Along with various exercise activities, members are exposed to mindfulness practices, nutrition, and healthy eating and cooking.
Our rising seniors’ Summer Bootcamp is an 8-day intensive college-prep session. This boot camp primes our seniors for college and financial aid applications. Workshops focus on finalizing college lists, creating personal statements with the support of volunteers, starting college/financial aid applications, identifying best practices for asking for letters of recommendation, scholarship research, meeting with college representatives, and much more. Members will earn Bro/Sis scholarships towards application fees and become eligible to receive a laptop upon successful senior year workshops.
This year’s Youth Employment Opportunity summer program provides a 6-week opportunity for youth ages 16-18 to explore careers and colleges. Members are developing workforce skills, meeting and networking with professionals from various fields, learning financial literacy, creating career profiles and personal portfolios of their experiences, and building confidence to stand out in the workforce.
An Overview of COVID Related Safety Procedures
We have created detailed HR, Operational and Programmatic COVID related procedures.
These are extensive and include:
· Working since June to upgrade our space and distancing work areas and install distancing measures and room capacity signage
· Instituting twice-daily cleanings and additional cleaning of high use and high touch spaces
· Removing communal work and food use items
· Mandated masks for all staff and all members and maintenance of six feet of distance
· Barring visitors to the space and mandating deliveries to be kept outside our space and parental pick up of children to be held outside as well
· Instituted daily temperature check for all members
· Our in-person youth cohorts are split into groups of no more than 10 and facilitators carry with them essential cleaning and safety supplies to protect our members
· Nearly all programming is occurring outside – at the community garden we steward; the public plaza we administer; under tents outside; or at neighborhood parks
· Limited programming is occurring inside – and groups are kept to reduced occupancies to ensure social distancing
P.S. You can receive a tax deduction when you donate to support our work due to the recently passed relief bill which allows you to receive up to $300 in tax deductions.